Author Mike Ritter and publisher John Ogden will launch their book, “Grajagan–Surfing in the Tiger’s Lair: 1872-1984,” with a presentation and book signing from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way.
This event, which is free and open to the public, coincides with Australia-based Cyclops Productions’ introduction of its ocean and surfing related titles to American audiences. Attendees will have the chance to meet and talk with the author and publisher, both of whom will be available to sign copies of their books.
Co-authors Ritter (author of “Thai Stick”) and noted surf filmmaker Jack McCoy explode the myths around the early days of discovery at Grajagan (G-Land), one of the crown jewels of surfing. This mythical surf break would become the focus of entrepreneur Mike Boyum’s obsession to create the world’s first surf camp where the tiger-inhabited jungle meets the pristine sea. Mr. Ritter and Mr. McCoy’s verified account of the motley crew of surfers, drifters and scammers who first found their way to this surfing mecca is both compelling and powerful.
“Many of the main players in this incredible story are Americans. Grajagan is more than just a record of Indonesia’s motley crew of surfing pioneers. It lifts the lid on the prehistory and mystery of a magical part of East Java, a place where Western surfers found their Shangri-La and were bewitched by the jungle spirits and wild animals harbored there,” said Mr. Ogden, is a respected writer, publisher, educator, cinematographer and photographer based in Sydney, Australia
He began his career as a photojournalist in Southeast Asia during the early seventies before free-lancing for numerous magazines. He established Cyclops Press in 1999 as a vehicle to publish books that promote the work of Australian authors and photographers, many of which strive to promote awareness of First Nations culture.
In recent years, the company has also focused on a Surf Series of books, including “Whitewash,” “Unearthed,” “Cactus,” “Saltwater People of the Broken Bays,” “Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore” and “Waterproof,” several of which were the recipients of awards from the Australian Association for Maritime History. “Grajagan” is the most recent title in the series.
Mr. Ritter began smuggling hash and marijuana in 1968 and continued for 18 years. After serving time at the Federal Prison Camp in Florence, Col., in 2007, he enrolled in the University of Hawaii and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics and mathematics.
His book, “Lifted,” traces his life from a troubled adolescence, prison and college to success, early retirement and a new career as an author. In 2013, he also co-wrote “Thai Stick-Surfers, Scammers” and the “Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade” with Peter Maguire.
Mr. McCoy spent his early days in Los Angeles as the son of a radio and TV show host. He began surfing when the family moved to Hawaii in the 1950s and took up still photography after relocating to Australia in 1970. Teaming up with Dick Hoole, he then shifted to cinematography to produce his first surf movie, “Tubular Swells,” in 1976.
Over the following four decades, he has established himself as one of the sport’s leading cinematographers and storytellers.